Social capital and fisheries co-management in South Africa: the East Coast Rock Lobster Fishery in Tshani Mankozi, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape

Kaminsky, Alexander (2012) Social capital and fisheries co-management in South Africa: the East Coast Rock Lobster Fishery in Tshani Mankozi, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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It is evident that natural fish stocks are in rapid decline and that millions of people around the world rely on these resources for food and for securing a livelihood. This has brought many social scientists, biologists and fisheries experts to acknowledge that communities need to take more control in managing their natural resources. The paradigm shift in fisheries management from a top-down resource orientated control to a participatory people-centred control is now being advocated in many maritime nations in facilitating community-based natural resource management. At the heart of these projects is the establishment of institutions and social networks that allow for clear communication and information sharing, based on scientific data and traditional knowledge which ultimately allow empowered communities to collectively manage their resources in partnership with government, market actors and many other stakeholders. Central to the problem is the issue of access rights. In many situations where co-management of natural resources through community-government partnerships is advocated, the failure of coastal states to provide adequate legislature and regulatory frameworks has jeopardised such projects. A second issue is the failure of many states to provide adequate investments in social and human capital which will enable communities to become the primary stakeholder in the co-management of their natural resources. Whilst investments like capacity building, education, skills training and development, communications and institution building can initially require high financial investments, the regulatory costs for monitoring, controlling and surveying fish stocks along the coastline will go down as communities take ownership of their resources under sustainable awareness. The main unit of investment therefore is social capital which allows for the increase in trust, cooperativeness, assertiveness, collective action and general capabilities of natural resource governance. High levels of social capital require good social relations and interactions which ultimately create a social network of fishers, community members and leaders, government officials, market players, researchers and various other stakeholders. Co-management thus has an inherent network structure made up of social relations on a horizontal scale amongst community members as well as on a vertical scale with government and fisheries authorities. These bonding relations between people and the bridging relations with institutions provide the social capital currency that allows for a successful co-management solution to community-based natural resource governance. The South African coastline is home to thousands of people who harvest the marine resources for food security and securing a basic income. Fishing is a major cultural and historical component of the livelihoods of many people along the coastline, particularly along the Wild Coast of South Africa located on its South-eastern shoreline. Due to the geopolitical nature of South Africa’s apartheid past many people were located in former tribal lands called Bantustans. The Transkei, one of the biggest homelands, is home to some of South Africa’s poorest people, many of whom rely on the marine resources. By 1998 the government sought to acknowledge the previously unrecognised subsistence sector that lived along the South African coastline with the promulgation of the Marine Living Resources Act. The act sought to legalise access rights for fishers and provide opportunities for the development of commercial fisheries. The act and many subsequent policies largely called for co-management as a solution to the management of the subsistence sector. This thesis largely explains the administrative and legislative difficulties in transporting the participatory components of co-management to the ground level. As such co-management has largely remained in rhetoric whilst the government provides a contradictory policy regarding the management of subsistence and small-scale fishers. This thesis attempts to provide qualitative ethnographic research of the East Coast Rock Lobster fishery located in a small fishing village in the Transkei. The fishery falls somewhere on the spectrum between the small-scale and subsistence sector as there are a basket of high and low value resources being harvested. It will be argued that in order to economically and socially develop the fishery the social capital and social networks of the community and various stakeholders needs to be analysed in order to effectively create a co-management network that can create a successful collective management of natural resources thereby sustaining these communities in the future.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Natural fish stocks, Decline, Management, Communities, Resource management, Access rights, Regulatory frameworks, Investment, Human capital, Social capital, Fishing, Food security, Income, Wild Coast, South Africa, Marine Living Resources Act, Co-management, Ethnographic research, East Coast Rock Lobster fishery
Subjects:S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Sociology and Industrial Sociology
Supervisors:Roodt, Monty
ID Code:3729
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:22 Oct 2012 13:52
Last Modified:22 Oct 2012 13:52
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